Monthly Archive for September, 2011

Presidential Nomination Process must be examined by Constitutional Convention

Despite the fact that the seven candidates running for President is more than we have had in any previous election, I feel the last two weeks have clearly demonstrated the huge flaws in the nomination process as set out under Art 12.4 of the Constitution.

At one level, you have to credit those county councillors who made the decision to vote across party lines and open the race to the four independent candidates. Their actions have facilitated a broader field, from which the electorate can make their choice. However, I’m not sure if they deserve such an outsized role in the process. County and city councillors are not representative in the same way that TDs are. Leitrim’s 22 councillors represent 1,444 persons per councillor, whereas Fingal’s 24 councillors each represent 11,377. A substantial majority of the councils in Ireland are of a rural nature, and these tend to be dominated by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. As such, these parties get a disproportionate influence in the use of the council route.
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By-Election Campaign Launch

I’m officially launching my By-Election campaign on Saturday 1st October at 11:30 AM in the Castleknock Hotel.  Eamonn Ryan and I will be speaking about what we hope to achieve during the campaign.  Feel free to come along – tea and coffee will be served.

After, we will be heading out for a big canvass in Carpenterstown.

Government must commit to sustaining ‘green jobs’

25/09/11

There was some good news on the jobs front on Friday with the publication of a report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) showing that thousands of jobs had been created since 2009 through energy saving schemes. The report demonstrates the success of the initiative Eamon Ryan took in creating these energy saving schemes when he was Minister for Energy.

The report shows that over 6,000 jobs have been created through the Home Energy Savings Scheme and the Small & Medium Enterprise Programme. It demonstrates that the individual energy saving measures have resulted in householders saving an average of €450. Since the schemes were introduced in 2009, over 100,000 homes have upgraded insulation, boilers or heating controls. Almost 1,500 SMEs have received advice on how to reduce their energy costs. The measures have also resulted in significant cuts in carbon emissions where they have been applied. 

The challenge now is to ensure that these successes are carried forward. As the report itself demonstrates, the schemes save much more than they cost. For every €1 spent by SEAI, there is a net €5 benefit to society”.

The Green Party has always argued that changing how we use energy can be good for the economy, the consumer and the environment. This report shows that measures we took in government are creating jobs, saving money and reducing emissions. Now it’s up to the current Government to commit to sustaining this green jobs success story. If I’m elected as the new TD for Dublin West, I will use my position to ensure that energy efficiency programmes are strengthened.

Good news for bus users. Real time monitors on the way.

Real Time bus monitors to be errected across Fingal

I received some good news from the National Transport Authority in the last few days about the roll out of ‘real time’ bus stop monitors. They tell me they have just awarded the contract for the erection of 45 such monitors across the Fingal area.

These monitors will be complimented by a web, text and smart phone app service. This will mean that passengers at any bus stop across the city will be able to get information on the next bus, simply using the number on that bus stop.

Two of the real time monitors will be located in Blanchardstown Village. This is particularly welcome as when the Network Direct project re-designed routes in the Dublin 15 area, Blanchardstown Village lost a number of services. The pay back for this was a guarantee that the new bus routes would be more reliable. The addition of real time monitors in the village will allow those of us living there to plan our journeys more effectively.

As a daily bus user, I have found the new monitors and texting service at stops in the City Centre incredibly useful. I reckon they will be of real benefit to commuters in Dublin 15 and Swords and that they have the potential to significantly improve the quality of public transport across the city. It’s taken a long time to get this system up and running, but I want to congratulate Dublin Bus and the National Transport Authority on their quick roll out of the project.

Planning: We need to learn from past mistakes

More evidence why we need independent inquiries into planning practices

A few weeks ago I posted about my concerns regarding the decision of the Government to scrap independent investigations into planning practices that had been initiated by John Gormley when he was Environment Minister. The new minister, Phil Hogan, has replaced these with in-house investigations – basically civil servants investigating other civil servants.

Today, RTE reports on another example of gross mismanagement of planning by a local authority – this time Meath County Council. Following a High Court judgment last year, where the Council was forced to pay a property owner €4.5 million, an investigation of the Council reveals there was virtually no oversight in the planning department and further, there was a lack of basic competence.  It’s ironic that at the same time that the problems in local authorities are being disclosed, the Government wants to hush up the practices in other county councils, by having in-house investigations rather than an independent inquiry.

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Why I’m running

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